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Second-generation wireless sensor platform runs Linux

Jun 8, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Crossbow Technology will demonstrate its tiny XScale-based platform for wireless sensing, at the Sensors Expo tradeshow next week. The Imote2 is supported by a 2.6.14 Linux port from Intel's Mote 2 project, and will soon gain support for .NET Micro Framework, Microsoft's new low-end embedded platform.

(Click for larger view of the Imote2 sensor platform)

According to Crossbow, the 1.9 x 1.4-inch Imote2 board targets “compute-intensive” wireless sensor network applications such as digital imaging and industrial vibration monitoring. Based on a PXA271 XScale processor, it is equipped with 256KB of SRAM, 32MB of SDRAM, and 32MB of flash memory. Wireless communications are provided by an on-board ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4) wireless radio with an antenna tuned to the 2.4 GHz band.

Imote2 wireless sensor platform block diagram

The module supports low voltage (0.85V) operation, and its processor's clock rate scales from 13 to 416 MHz, making it well suited for battery-powered applications, the company said.

The Imote2 is based on technology licensed from Intel's Mote 2 initiative, Crossbow said.

Crossbow's Linux implementation for the Imote2 reached its stable 1.0 version number last fall, when a driver for the board's TI CC2420 Zigbee transceiver chip was added. The implementation includes a “blob” bootloader, 2.6.14 kernel, and root file system based on the Familiar distribution. Some components appear to be licensed under the Intel open source license.


Crossbow's Imote2 board is available now, as is open-source support for Linux 2.6.14, TinyOS, and SOS. Due in Q3 is an “Imote2.Builder for .NET Micro Framework” development kit, which will include three Imote2 modules, three sensor boards, Microsoft's .NET Micro Framework SDK (software development kit), and an evaluation copy of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 IDE (integrated development environment).

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